Sunday, April 24, 2011

calling the meek and the humble

  • Friday: I had one of the nicest New Orleans afternoons in recent memory, perfect weather in this single sliver of the year that the city does not make its own humid gravy, dicking around Domino Sound Shack, the kind of perfectly curated record store that made me thankful I don't have a turntable because one needs everything in the store. I considered how I could acquire an old Jukebox and fill it indiscriminately with $3 Jamaican 45's and with a push of any three random numbers could be instantly happy for all of my days.
  • All those records! I looked into becoming a vintage gospel blues enthusiast with Nuclear Blast. by Reverend Douglas Bell & the Stage Cruisers when in trod a New Orleans Extra: baby in a sling, little hat, no shoes, loudly establishing his New Orleanianity. I thought, In here? It there a casting agent for Treme embedded among the record spinners? Surely you don't have to do that in here. You are among your tribe; lower your spear. But a true warrior never does and he kept up his power-familiarity through the rest of my time in vinyl bliss. Sometimes the grand theatre that is New Orleans is upstaged by some dude's one man show, and sometimes it's just a revue of those shows.
But... Look! I need this!
  • My next destination was a friend and colleague's book signing at a wine shop and I parked 1/2 a mile away just to do it. I felt a little horrible for hating the horrible guy and then for stopping at CC's on Esplanade instead of someplace cooler and then for sitting outside and checking email in their wi-fi and then pulling down Nuclear Blast from Rhapsody (but really, what would I have done with the record but have it?) and etc. and etc. This is a common feeling for the Baton Rougean wandering the City of Clowns, one that must be overcome.
  • Friend and colleague is Ian McNulty whose Louisiana Rambles is out and has nearly the same map as does my book. His book looks great; you should get it! You get a beer koozie if you get it from him. The wine shop was charming as hell and three tastings in of Central California's Bounty, I was eyeing a mouth-water fresh boule and brie setup a couple seemed to be hoarding and mid-reach-for-it realized that this was something they'd ordered and was not free wine-tasting snacks. My gross humiliation abated when they gave me a piece anyway and that's why I love New Orleans.
  • On the walk back, the honeysuckle was like a wet kiss. I motored topdown to the Howlin' Wolf to meet up with my friends with Nuclear Blast blasting away and then ambled with New Orleans' gentle urbanity whizzing by to Cochon Butcher for dinner before the friend's band's show. There was a stop at McKeown's Bookstore, outside which the top photo was taken. "The Gambino" from Butcher sits below.
  • The Help is the band, containing former members of New Orleans' the Cold, mid-80's new wave outfit in which Vance "Ellen's brother/former Daily Show correspondent" Degeneres played, and they were good, rather straight for New Orleans' circus music scene actually but the weirdness was brung by this standup/performance routine that introduced them. I offer it without comment because I don't know what to say, except that in the video it looks a little like she wasn't wearing a shirt but she was.

  • Riding home in the familiar dark with the Upsetters' Blackboard Jungle Dub, the perfect musical embodiment of bodies moving through them empty vastnesses of space. William Gibson liked to cast as interstellar cargo pilots Rastafarians acloud in dub and weed smoke. They were the only ones who could handle the long drive to Alpha Centauri to drop off mining supplies. I saw a single for this song at Domino (I think it was this one) and wished I'd bought it anyway as a talisman. Something through whose round hole I could peer to see the universe.

Lee "Scratch" Perry & the Upsetters, "Blackboard Jungle Dub (Version 1)"
  • It came on just as Good Friday ended and it was one and calling the meek and the humble is what that guy on that hill did and you don't have to believe in anything to believe in doing that.

  • Saturday: Roller derby Easter Egg party! Face painting while the Fall plays on an iPod in the bckgrnd! Hula hoops! Tattoos! I got a back massage! and a hamburger! In my neighborhood! All anyone ever wants!
  • The second wind caught my sails and Clarke and I headed off to catch High Performance at La Poussiere. The humble Breaux Bridge dancehall was about the third of these places I covered in this second career of covering these places and it's humbleness and sweetness was intact. High Performance recreates with shocking clarity the dissolving of traditional Cajun music in the 50's into crack country dance bands where the accordion swims alongside pedal steel and it is the most beautiful thing in the world. It is culture's mutation trapped in amber, thawed out (or whatever you do with amber; Jurassic Park was on when I left so I should know) and presented in a place that itself is trapped in amber.

Keith Frank at the Pat Davis Lounge in Cecilia, LA; the monogram lights on his amps.
  • Then we ventured deeper into the offroads to the Pat Davis Lounge back in the rice pastures and pecan farms of Cecilia to catch the mighty Keith Frank. This might turn into a covering of one of these places but here is a phone-tapped glimpse gleaned in the extra-dimensional din of zydeco in a barn in the middle of nowhere: One song w highly syncopated woodblock centric started w an almost metallic ground to like they might lean into Kashmir but veered off to funkadelic's swing down sweet chariot let me ride then into a James gang style breakdown "it's alright" . Think Lizzy? What is that? Whats next, Bohemian Rhapsody? you felt like anything could be incorporated into it. Then a surf riff / rocksteady reggae party jam "soul survivor"
  • Sunday: Easter

  • So yes, call out to the meek and the humble and gather them up to you along with the strong and the boastful and the wise. Bring the clowns and the roller derby girls for security and eye candy - not sure which is better suited for which and who cares. Set the controls on the crockpot to the heart of the sun and herald the Spring and to everyone and everything, I meekly and humbly offer my thanks.

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